He who steals one heart away from another by means of innuendos is the vilest of robbers,
and especially when professed devotion to God is used as a pretext to carry out the design (v. 7).
II Samuel 1
1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
5 And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.
6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 ¶ And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron.
8 For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.
9 And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.
10 ¶ But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.
12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
13 ¶ And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.
14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
15 And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.
16 And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house.
17 And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off.
18 And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.
19 ¶ Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile.
20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.
22 And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him.
23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.
24 ¶ And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.
25 And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation:
26 But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.
27 The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
28 See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there come word from you to certify me.
29 Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.
30 ¶ And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
31 ¶ And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
32 ¶ And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:
33 Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me:
34 But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father’s servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.
35 And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king’s house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36 Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok’s son, and Jonathan Abiathar’s son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear.
37 So Hushai David’s friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem.
II Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Samuel 15:1-12 – The Plot of the Ambitious Son
David’s government had become lax. Many causes were awaiting trial. Cases demanding his royal decision had accumulated. Suitors could get nothing done. Discontent was rife. The king had forfeited the former love and respect of his people. Perhaps the story of his sin had leaked out. It is thought, also, that at this time he was smitten by disease and that Psalms 41 and 55 record the sufferings of those withered years. Meanwhile, Absalom was undermining the throne and dividing the heart of the people.
How soon the heart may become alienated from its rightful king! The Absaloms ingratiate themselves, and wean away our loyalty, and love from Jesus. Is there a favorite that fawns on you, and entices you to a lower level than you occupied in earlier, happier days? If so, your King may be driven from the citadel of your soul, and you may be left to mourn over the tragedy caused by the transference of your heart’s affections. Be warned ere it be too late. Deal sternly with Absalom!
2 Samuel 15:13-23 – The Loyal Stranger
David was conscious of ill desert; hence his resolve to flee. How different his bearing now from that great hour when Goliath fell before him! Ah, conscience doth make cowards of us all! And yet there was a beautiful spirit of resignation welling up amid the salt waves of his bitter sorrow. When we are called to pass through dark hours, we cannot do better than repeat the words of this royal penitent: “Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him” (2 Samuel 15:26). What thoughtfulness of Ittai! What pathos in the king’s words to Zadok! What humility as he climbed Olivet! What trust still in God to turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness! It is an impressive picture of the resignation of a broken and a contrite heart.
They were noble words that Ittai uttered! His name associates him with David’s residence in Gath, among the Philistines. He was a stranger and an exile in Israel, but the king’s friendship had made a home for him. In these days of our Lord’s humiliation, let us address Him in the chivalrous and noble words of II Samuel 15:21. See John 12:26; I Thessalonians 5:10.
2 Samuel 15:24-37 – The Friends of the Fleeing King
Outside the story of our Lord, the Bible records nothing more admirable than David’s behavior as he passed through this thicket of thorns. He never appeared to better advantage than during those awful days. Tribulation had wrought patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and his hope was destined not to be ashamed. The psalms in which he embalms these experiences are the heritage of the saints. Among them are Psalms 3, 4, 26, 27, 28, and probably 62. The procession reminds us of another—only that was still more sorrowful—led by his Son and Lord, Matthew 26.
Adversity sifts out the false from the true, the spurious from the genuine. The trusted counselor turns traitor, II Samuel 15:31; but against this must be set the loyalty of Zadok and Abiathar, and the devotion of Hushai. There are indications that Bathsheba was Ahithophel’s granddaughter. This would explain why Absalom sent for him, why he was so bitter, and why he committed suicide. The Cross has been the touchstone of trial to myriads! Have you been true to your exiled King? Let us go forth to Him without the camp, bearing his reproach! Hebrews 13:13.
2 Samuel 15:26—Here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him.
There is the patience of hope. We love to gird ourselves in the vehemence of our self will, to go where we choose, to rule the lives of others; but as the years pass and our pride is humbled, the sinews of our strength slackened, and the radiance of early prospects overcast, we are willing to hand ourselves over to our Father, saying, “Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.”
It was thus that Isaac was passive in the hands of Abraham. It was thus that Jesus spoke to his Father (Hebrews 10:9), “I come to do thy will, O God.” It was thus that the maiden who was blessed above women, answered the angel’s message. It was thus that Paul, when urged not to go up to Jerusalem, avowed his willingness to live or die, as the Lord might choose.
God is ever working upon us through circumstances; and, as in the present case, sometimes He overrules the plotting of wicked men to fulfill his Divine purpose. His will is sometimes brought to us in a cup which a Judas holds to our lips. How blessed to be able to say, as we go forth to meet our Father’s will, Behold, here am I! And to look beyond the plotting and machinations of our enemies to one who loves us infinitely. Whatever He permits must be good. Good, if driven as an exile from our home; good, if exposed to the reviling of a Shimei; good, if the heart breaks in bitter tears. All must be good which the good Lord permits or appoints. Many were the afflictions of David, but out of them all he was delivered. When he had learnt the lesson, the rod was stayed. God did not take away his mercy from him. Thou too art in his hands, and He will certainly bring thee again, and show thee the city and his habitation.